The world we live in today whether we like it or not is very much controlled by the internet. Children are growing up in a media-saturated world. Before even mastering their language skills they learn to master the art of multitasking. They are indoors playing online games, roaming the internet, text-messaging their friends or chatting with them on Facebook while listening to music or watching videos. They have hundreds of friends and yet the time they physically spend with them is so minimal. If you call them they won’t hear you, their music is on so loud or they have their earphones on. At the dinner table they sit for as long as it takes for them to gobble up what’s on their plate and then they hurry back to their rooms. Quite simply the internet has taken the place of family in their life.
Years ago, when my son was still very young we used to spend hours in video-game shops helping him choose games to play on his computer. Facebook wasn’t around back then, and the internet we had at home was dial-up. Yet I used to worry about the time he spent playing. Little did I know then that that would be the least of my worries.
I agree that the internet has made our lives easier. It is helpful for students, as it provides them with more up to date information and research material. They can easily communicate with their peers and their teachers and professors. The internet has made it easier for everyone to not only research and collect information and even get an education, but it has also helped people to turn global and sort of live in an online multicultural society. It has helped people gain popularity and fame and become an overnight sensation around the world, kind of like Justin Bieber.
Unfortunately it has also made it easier to destroy lives. Through simply spreading an ugly rumor in cyberspace, or posting an embarrassing photo taken by a classmate or friend on a cell phone, teenagers have caused irreparable harm to their peers. And what about the harm caused to young boys and girls who are lured into ‘chat rooms’.
We worry about the planet and the earth and yet we expose our children to all kinds of harm through the different media that we create. Violence, sex, the use of profanity have become part of their daily lives. It is not only the internet. Many popular shows, reality TV shows, movies, songs, comedies, videos, and even cartoons promote the mantra “no limits, no boundaries; if it feels good, do it.”
I heard a radio talk show host here in Montreal yesterday proclaiming her fear of the many affairs that women will have this summer with men other than their spouses upon reading Fifty Shades of Grey. And as a consequence she said she is expecting a surge in the number of babies after nine months here in Montreal. I guess we’ll have to wait and see…
I wholeheartedly agree with the great comedian Bill Cosby when he says:
“I do miss the days when comedy wasn’t mean, when jokes weren’t at other people’s expense and you used profanity rarely. Getting people to laugh without being vulgar is the creative process at its best.”